Court turns down ComCom's 0867 appeal

Historic 1999 competition case finally reaches termination

The Commerce Commission has lost its appeal against a High Court ruling over Telecom's historic 0867 internet connection prefix scheme.

The commission says it is studying the Court of Appeal's decision, which was released today.

The case was brought by the commission against Telecom under section 36 of the Commerce Act.

In April 2008, the High Court found that Telecom did not use its dominant position in the market for fixed line retail telephone services to residential customers, or have an anti-competitive purpose when it introduced its 0867 package in 1999, and so did not contravene section 36.

“The commission is disappointed but will study this ruling, and consider next steps,” said the commission’s general counsel, Peter Taylor.

In June 1999, Telecom announced that residential customers would be charged for calls to internet service providers unless they used an 0867 dial-code and Telecom only made the 0867 number range available to other telecommunications network operators if they agreed that the 0867 number range was not covered by existing interconnection agreements. Therefore, Telecom was not required to pay charges relating to those calls.

Telecom sought to introduce a two cent per minute charge to customers not using the 0867 prefix after 10 hours’ use.

The Commission alleged that in introducing the 0867 scheme Telecom sought to prevent or deter competitive conduct by other carriers and ISPs.

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